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mommaspence

New Den Mother, HELP

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My son and I just joined cub scouts, and we are so excited. We went to the registration night and noone would step up as a den leader, so I did.

Here are my questions,

In all the leader info they gave me along with the wolf book, it clearly states that parents are the main ones to help their boys through the books. I have had a couple of mothers telling me that it is actually my responsibility, which is correct?

What is the typical amount of meetings? Appartantly these just want once or twice a month.

My son is so excited, and I am overjoyed with the opportunity to bond with him, I just want it to be a good experience.

Any suggestions would be great.

Thanks

 

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AAAWWWWWWWOOOOOOooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

We Wolves welcome you, mommaspence!!!! And we all wish you gobs of luck and tons of FUN. Ask anything and here's the place to find an answer -- often more answer than you wanted!!! :)

 

First, though, you are a Den LEADER. Sorry, but "Den Mother" is a bit archaic and all us alpha male Wolves get itchy when we hear it. :)

 

Have you seen the "Program Helps"? It's a great starting point. With that, the handbook, and a few other resources, you're good to go -- well, at least good to get a running start!

 

The "Program Helps" shows ideas for 4 meetings each month. Most Wolf groups don't meet that often. Twice a month is fairly common, with a field trip replacing a third meeting. It's also pretty common to Not meet the week of the Pack Meetings.

 

The key here is your comfort zone - especially at the beginning. You run your Den they way you see best. Some families may fluster, some may leave, others may join. . . offer a good program and everything else tends to fall into place.

 

You didn't talk as if the traditions of your Pack are very "Scouty" or very cohesive. Sadly, some Packs act more like playdate organizers. I hope that's not your situation. Whatever questions and problems arise, bring them back here for specific problem-solving sessions. These Scouters are the best in the world -- or so they keep telling everyone!! :)

 

The growth of a boy - in or out of Scouting - is obviously the responsibility of the parent. You're just here to volunteer to help their son grow and benefit from the Cub program, its Purposes and Core Values. The handbook asks for BOTH an Akela (parent, nanny, older sister, guardian, etc.) and a Den Leader sign-off.

 

We work on many achievements, electives, belt loops and other Awards as part of our Den Meetings, but you can't, and shouldn't try to, do it all. Have fun and plan toward the theme of the month. Then see which activities qualify for which Achievements and Electives.

 

For example, August's theme was "Scouting the Midway" so my Den made two Carnival games - Ring Toss and a marble version of ski-ball. We met three times that month, plus the Pack Meeting Carnival. None of my Cubs have earned their Bobcat yet so, of course, we practiced those Achievements as well. During August my boys met the requirements for: BOBCAT 1 -7, WOLF 2a,5b,5c,10b, Arrow Point ELECTIVES 4b,4c,4d,4e,4f,18f. We also worked toward the "Marbles" and "Ultimate" belt loops because I used those as "gathering" activities, depending on the weather. We completed both of those belt loops during our September "gatherings".

 

Most importantly we had TONS of fun --- my Den grew from 7 to 16!!!!!!!! (Thankfully, we're splitting next week!!!!!!!! -- Fun is one thing, but 16 feels like being back in my old classroom!!!) :) Nothin sells Scouting like 2nd grade boys bragging about using hand tools, playing games their grandpas played, and howling like wolves!!!!

 

Well, that's enough for now. I don't want to overwhelm you, and you shouldn't do it to yourself. Do what your comfortable with, seek out support and training, come back here to the campfire often, and have fun!!!

 

AAAWWWWWWWOOOOOOooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

jd

 

 

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Hi mommaspence, welcome to the scouting fold.

 

Here is a good place to start.

 

http://www.scouting.org/cubscouts/faststart/

 

This brief on-line training from the BSA will be agood orientation for you.

 

You didn't mention what age group this was. Assuming you have joined as Tigers, you will need a Tiger Cub Handbook for yourself (since you are the Den Leader) as well as your son the How To Book and lots of glue, scissors, glitter, cardboard boxes, film canisters and the like :)

 

As soon as possible attend the two hour New Leader Essentials Course and the three-hour Tiger Den Leader Specific Training in your area. Your Cumaster can find out when they will be.

 

There is also a Cub Scout Leader Handbook that you will find very helpful,t your pack should supply you with one(be sure to ask about it).

 

Next find forty-minutes to sit at your computer and take Youth Protection training. You will find a link to the on-line course at your local council website.

 

Get the tools and go have fun. Call anytime you need us.

 

Happy Scouting

Bob White

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Hey BW she said she was involved with Wolves, (as Homer Simpson would say, DOH:))

 

Yeah Wolves!!

Definitely use Program Helps, I use about 80% of the ideas when planning my meetings. I too try to work on beltloop requirements in some of my meetings. We do something for gathering (active game or paper work ie.mazes, puzzles) then our opening ceremonies (Pledge, Cub Scout promise,etc.) then we work on various things out of the Wolf book and program helps or beltloop requirements. This year we are also going to try to earn our 'Texas Badge', I sent all the requirements home in a folder and we will work on it occasionally during the year in the den. Some will earn it and some probably won't. It will be fun regardless. We also practice our little skit or song (which ever) for the pack meeting. Then it is usually time to go home.

 

Whew!

 

But when we are done, I live on that 'high' until the next Monday!

 

Carol

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Not to digress too much, but, CC, is the "Texas Badge" an award????? Perhaps, it's like a Rank Step up toward the "New York" Award!!!!!!!!!!!!! :):):):):):)

 

Mommaspence, plan ahead so that any physical or outdoor activities have "rainy day" backups handy.

 

Where do you meet? Don't forget to prepare the physcial environment!! Especially if it's your home! Wolves aren't generally ill intentioned - just messy, clu

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First off, WElcome to the pack! I too am a Wolf den leader. Unfortunatly my pack doesn't run like the program helps supports. We meet 2 times per month at our COR with all the other dens. Basically it is like 2 pack meetings per month, the CM talks for a while then we break for den meetings. I can't change things right now but next year I am taking over as CM and there will be changes coming.

My advice is to do what is best for your boys and yourself. If too many parents complain you may want to remind them that you volunteered, they didn't. You will have boys that work on there books at home and you will have boys that don't. That was my biggest complaint last year in Tigers. Some parents I had to sit down and read through the books with them and ask "Did Billy do that?, Did your family do this?" It was really frustrating that so many parents want their child spoon fed the requirements.

Then I just got over it and decided to have some fun. We went fishing and hiking. We earned belt loops and pins. When the other kids saw awards being earned they got on the ball and started doing some of it at home.

 

Good luck and hope to see you around!

Cajun

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I had a den mother, my sons had den leaders. "Traditional values" used to mean adult males were unfit to be den leaders and adult females were unfit to be Pack leaders, specifically the Cubmaster. Things have changed for the better.

 

I agree with most of the advice. You are the den leader, run it the way you want (within the bounds of the BSA). At the Wolf level, both you and the parents may act as "Akela." Please remember that Cub Scouts is a FAMILY program. The parents should be involved (much more so than Boy Scouts). Now, the following worked for me when I was a den leader. I told the parents that I would cover, via den meetings and field trips, about half of the requirements in the book and outlined which ones from day 1. If their son wanted to advance further, they would need to cover the remaining requirements. Many of the requirements at this level can ONLY be covered by the family.

 

Good luck and have fun and not to sound like a broken record but GET TRAINED ASAP!

 

P.S. Cub Scouts can earn a special badge affilitated with their state. I assume this is nation wide. See below for the qualifications for the Michigan badge. I'm guessing for the Texas badge they teach how to be arrogant and minutia about the Alamo and for New York - well I'm in enough hot water with Texans now! (Calm down everyone. It was typed in jest!)

 

1. Qualifications

Be an active Cub Scout or Webelos who is registered in a Michigan Pack.

2. State Symbols

a. Name the State bird, State flower, State tree and State stone. Draw the

State flag.

b. What is the State Motto and why is it unique to the State of Michigan?

3. State History

a. What city was claimed by both Michigan and Ohio, delaying statehood?

When did Michigan enter the Union?

b. Name a famous Michiganian. Tell why that person is famous, and what

you like or dislike about him or her.

c. Visit an historical place in Michigan. Tell about the important events,

which happened there.

4. State Culture

a. Read a story about any Michigan subject (fiction or non- fiction). Tell

what you have learned from the story.

b. Tell about the history and customs of Native Americans who lived in

Michigan near your community.

Important If you have already done any of these requirements for another Cub Scout

or Webelos award, you must do something different for the Michigan Badge. For

example, if you visited an historical place for another award, you should visit a different

historical place for the Michigan Badge.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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This is what I do:

 

>>As a den leader I basically guide the den's activities, provide a calendar of events (making sure we cover achievements needed to allow the boys to graduate at the Blue & Gold dinner) and act as communication coordinator within the den and from the Pack level to the den. I just don't have the time, talent, nor energy to arrange and run EVERY den meeting and field trip.

 

>>Hold den meetings on the same day of the week as the regular pack meeting - in our case Wednesday evenings. Find the day/time that works best for your den. We meet in our school's cafeteria from 6:30-8:00. That is late enough working parents can make it, but early enough so the boys aren't up too late on a school night.

 

>>Make sure the boys get together every other week, including Pack meetings. This means we'll have one or two den meetings each month. I know we're supposed to have weekly meetings, but it is way too often for our families due to competing activities (soccer, baseball, band, ...)

 

>>VERY IMPORTANT!! The den leader identifies the topics for each month or den meeting based upon the achievements to be completed and monthly themes, and then the Parents get responsiblility for the month's den meetings and field activity on a rotating basis. For example, Joe Smith - Bobby Smith's dad (note we specify a person who is responsible - will cover Feats of Skill during November and will arrange/host the November's den meetings and field trip.

 

Before each meeting (a week ahead of time and then night before), the den leader contacts the parent to confirm their readiness and discusses details. Each parent, including the Den Leader, will typically doing two months during the year.

 

If parents don't want to take ownership of their share of den activities - and luckily I haven't been faced with that - then I would likely ask them to consider joining another den (which in our case involves finding another pack).

 

>>I am fortunate enough that all my den parents use e-mail. 99% of my communication is through e-mails. It is great!! It is much faster and more precise than phone calls.

 

In my opinion, running a den all by yourself - planning and hosting all den activities - would be a full-time job. Kudos to those that do!! I have to work during the day to pay bills, provide a home to my kids, and build them a future. Sharing the planning/hosting is the only way I could do this without burning out after the first year.

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I didn't mean "graduate" at the Blue & Gold. I intended to say "receive their badge of rank".

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Thanks, Acco and CubbingCarol, I was absolutely unaware of these STATE Badges. I'll be on it before you even read this! This, BTW, is one of my favorite parts of these forums. As we share back and forth, you can pick up TERRIFIC info on topics that you never thought of and/or are not specifically part of the original conversation!

 

Just one more reason to keep coming back momma -- learning things that you never knew you never knew!! (anyone else hearing Disney music in the background?!??!!) :)

 

Hey, Kenk, I get the idea about sharing responsibility and talents. I'm thinking how to implement some of it, because right now, our DLs do it all. However, the idea that you might suggest a boy and family go elsewhere if they're not willing to share is VERY troublesome. It's Den Leaders who are supported and trained to be responsible for all Den activities. Getting parents to participate and share their talents is Fantastic, but to judge their son's right to belong to the group based on the parents' ability or interest in helping is NOT going to be found in any Scouting Materials. You are on thin ice and it's a balmy 65 degrees!!!!! :(

 

jd

 

(This message has been edited by johndaigler)

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kenk,

 

jd is right about the parent participation thing. If I did that in my little den, I probably wouldn't have but my own son and 1-2 other boys still attending. Scouting is not that big down here so we do everything within legal Scout limits to keep what few boys and parents we have interested and coming. I'm not going to step on any of their toes and tell them if you don't participate go elsewhere.

 

BTW I thought only Tigers did the parent rotation den meetings.

 

acco40,

I won't stoop to the point of disrespecting your state (although I didn't even know that Michigan had a history :)) Ha got you back! ;)

 

Carol

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Carol -- You're darned tootin' that Michigan has history ;) They fought a war over Toledo and both sides lost. Ohio lost because it got Toledo, and Michigan lost because it had to take the Upper Peninsula as a result!

 

Okay, now I'm in trouble in both states.

 

Unc.

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>>VERY IMPORTANT!! The den leader identifies the topics for each month or den meeting based upon the achievements to be completed and monthly themes, and then the Parents get responsiblility for the month's den meetings and field activity on a rotating basis.

 

DANGER WILL ROBINSON DANGER!

 

NO NO NO, That is not the Cub Scout Program. Take the training. The den meetings are to be planned and lead by two TRAINED leaders. Parents have not been trained in the methods aims and mission of scouting. They do not know the 7 parts of a den meeting. They do not know that advancement needs to be planned to take place during 5 of those 7 portions. They do not have youth protection training.

 

ONLY Trained Den Leaders are to run the meetings...Go to training!!!

 

This has been an anouncemeent of the emergency broadcast system. Had this not been an actual energency I would have been tuned in to my local radio station.

 

BW

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Yeah, I knew people would jump all over it, but...

 

midway through our Wolf year I found I had two choices:

 

1. Resign

 

2. Have the parents assist with hosting meetings

 

I presented these options to my den and, well, they wholeheartedly chose option 2. All we are doing is continuing the process that worked so well in Tiger Cubs.

 

I have had all the training. I followed the published monthly meeting recommendations. I run the meetings using the preferred format, but the parents plan the meeting activities and projects and plan/arrange the trips.

 

I have a great Assistant Den Leader - a Police Officer who brings fantastic skills, insight and energy into the den. But both of us have professional careers, both our wives work full time, and we both have two young children actively involved in school/athletic activities outside of Scouting. For both of us our primary responsibility is to our children and families - not our Pack/Den.

 

The parents are not dummies. Most of them have been involved with the den for the last three years, since Tiger Cubs, and know the drill well by now. It has worked VERY well for us. It keeps the parents actively involved in the den - much more so than most dens - and brings their skills/talents to the den meetings/activities.

 

Like I said, kudos to you den leaders out there who have sufficient time to run the program by yourself (with the assistance of an ADL).

 

Just to raise the heat a little more, now that we are in Webelos, we are having the host parent's Scout work with their parents to plan & run parts of the meetings - at least to the extent they feel comfortable. So far it appears to be working very well with guidance from the parent and the leaders.

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